Don Kennedy’s Memories

I was a contributor to MONITOR during the first year or so of the program, sending in feature interviews, all of which were used on the program.

An old army buddy’s wife was secretary to Mike Zeamer, who was, as I recall, an early producer of MONITOR, and through this contact I was able to submit features taped on a fresh, new $299 Magnecord. I had just been separated from the service, moved to Atlanta, Georgia, and developed features about all-night sings, a character called the Goat-man who traveled up and down the east coast in a goat cart, preaching in small towns, a man who rescued a dog who had fallen onto the carving platform at Stone Mountain in Georgia, the memories of Graham Jackson, a musician who had entertained F.D.R. at the Little White House, and a feature about parachute jumpers at Ft.
Benning in Columbus, Georgia, plus some other features I’ve forgotten.

As I recall, I was paid $33 per feature, a great deal in those days. Much of the inspiration for these features came from another army buddy named Harlee Branch who was an Atlanta native, and was the reason for my move to Atlanta.

I later went into Atlanta television at WSB-TV, and for competitive reasons was precluded from voicing the features, but Harlee Branch, an excellent announcer, voiced some of the later features I recorded, and we split the talent fee.

Later I wound up owning and operating an FM station in Atlanta, established the Georgia and Florida State News Networks, organized a company to buy and operate a UHF station in Atlanta, and now, in later life, I’m syndicating a national Big Band radio program called BIG BAND JUMP, heard on nearly 200 stations.

Harlee Branch, a most talented and innovative man, wound up in Sacramento working in television, and I’m back doing what’s the most fun….being on-air with the music that’s become known as “Adult Standard”.

MONITOR was the best radio program of its time, or any time. Would that such creativity and totally entertaining radio would emerge today. With the technical abilities of today’s radio, it could be even more thrillling, but it would take someone with vision, fortitude and persistance to make it
work against the numbers oriented, tightly formatted radio of today.

Don Kennedy